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A theater of one’s own

New Cambridge arts venue will highlight artists of color

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
A theater of one’s own
An architect’s rendering of the new arts venue coming to 585 Third Street in Kendall Square, Cambridge. Image: Courtesy CBT Architects

Last week, BioMed Realty and Global Arts Live announced their partnership in creating 585 Arts, a nonprofit dedicated to operating and programming the arts and cultural activation at 585 Third Street in Cambridge. The lot was rezoned for a 16-story laboratory and workspace in Kendall Square and will also be home to a 300-seat theater and more than 30,000 additional square feet of indoor and outdoor spaces for performances, art events and community gatherings.

The space is a boon for the Kendall Square area, which has much to offer in the way of visual art, but not in performing arts spaces. The 585 Arts mission will also center on bringing diverse and equitable art experience to the forefront.

Architect’s rendering of 585 Arts. Image: Courtesy CBT Architects

“585 Arts will play the vital role of programming, managing and publicizing the incredible array of arts experiences we aspire to host at and around 585 Third Street,” said Global Arts Live Board President Nagesh Mahanthappa. “Our aim for this project is to create a thriving hub for communities and creatives to come together — one that will bring another dimension of diversity and culture to Kendall Square.”

The project is expected to reach completion in 2025 and will be one of the first new live performance theaters in the Boston area in 15 years. Global Arts Live has committed to providing at least 100 nights per year of arts programming as the anchor tenant of the 585 Third Street theater. At least 200 additional nights will be available to community artists and cultural organizations.

“This is great news, not only for artists like myself, but also for the audiences that enable us to follow our passions,” said Alex Ambala, Artistic Director for The Flavor Continues, a Boston based street and club dance nonprofit.

BioMed Realty develops real estate projects in the science and technology industries. Global Arts Live is a Cambridge-based nonprofit that brings international music, dance and performance acts to the stage year round. The partnership in launching 585 Arts combines the resources and development experience for a large project with more than 30 years of experience in the Boston area arts and culture scene.

Diversity is the crux of the planned programming for 585 Arts. As local institutions scramble to balance the scales of representation in their programming, 585 Arts is designed to host and celebrate artists of color from the outset. Part of this mission is already in play; a group of volunteer artists from Greater Boston and Cambridge have been consulted during the planning stages of the project to ensure artists’ needs will be met.

Ambala says, “Few organizations have the resources and organizational mandate to engage artists — especially artists from underrepresented backgrounds — and I can’t wait to see the wide range of artists that 585 Arts will discover, nurture and show off to the world.”